Falmouth lifeboat was busiest in south west
Falmouth lifeboat station was the joint busiest in the whole of the South West this summer, tied with Poole in Dorset.
There were 45 shouts for the volunteer lifeboat crews based in the town, or nearly seven per cent of the region's total of 653.
The busiest summer for South West RNLI lifeboat crews in the last five years was in 2008 when they launched 725 times. The launch numbers have steadily fallen since then, although this year's marks a slight rise from 2011's total of 627.
Despite the poor weather, the charity’s volunteers in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and the Channel Islands have been involved in a wide range of activities from the Jubilee celebrations and Olympics, to dramatic rescues in challenging conditions.
Nationally the figures for shout-outs, which cover the period June 1 to August 31 2012, are down two per cent compared to 2011 – probably due to the rainy weather at the beginning of the summer.
The South West has seen a slight rise of 26 emergency call outs and the unseasonable weather has led to some extremely difficult rescues.
Tom Mansell, RNLI inspector in the South West, said: “This has been an unusual summer with some tricky weather for our volunteer lifeboat crews to contend with.
“The recent rescue of a surfer in southerly force five to six winds and with a choppy two to three metre swell and larger breaking waves by the crew of the Salcombe inshore lifeboat showed just how much we expect from our volunteers, as did the rescue of a yachtsman thrown into the water when the boat he was on capsized off Padstow.
“These and the rescue of four groups of kayakers off Ilfracombe were all rescues carried out in very unseasonable weather.
“Then of course there was the role played by many of our South West volunteers in supporting the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events in Weymouth. Between them they crewed lifeboats and provided important safety cover.”
The furthest distance travelled by a lifeboat in a single shout was carried out by St Mary’s lifeboat, from the Isles of Scilly, which launched to rescue a catamaran 80 nautical miles offshore and tow it back to harbour.
The Burnham-on-Sea lifeboat crews were out for the longest shout of the summer – 17.7 hours in total – when they joined the search for four-year-old Dylan Cecil, who was tragically lost at sea after slipping from a jetty.
Tom added: “Once again our volunteer crews have shown that they are committed and brave individuals, on stand by to save lives at sea come rain or shine even during the summer when they deserve their own time off to be with their families.”